Any excuse to have a birthday party and cake is a good excuse. And we have an unBEARably delightful one for you.

The grizzly bear statue on the University of Montana campus oval is turning 50 and the public is invited to a birthday celebration this Tuesday, August 27, from 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. on the oval near the statue.

Birthday cake will be served. The UM Marching Band will perform Happy Birthday at noon. UM President Seth Bodnar will be there, as will Monte the Mascot (of course). There will be displays of historic pictures showing the statue's installation. A UM art history professor will be available to answer questions.

The statue was commissioned by University of Montana President Robert Pantzer, who led UM from 1966-1973. Its sculptor is the late Rudy Autio, who founded UM's ceramics division and chaired the school of art from 1957 - 1985.The statue arrived on campus on August 27, 1969.

So, happy birthday, uh.....(does it have a name?) And we hope to see you on the oval Tuesday.